The Canon 1D X mark II is Canon’s latest flagship DSLR and it also shoots video. We were curious to find out how good its 4K capabilities really are: after all, it shoots up to 60p in full resolution. Johnnie reviewed the camera a few days ago, and here’s our Canon 1D X mark II vs. Canon 1D C lab test. It is Canon’s first official “photo camera” that shoots 4K video. The company has been quite reluctant to offer high quality video in their photo products since they separated the professional cinema video segment a few years ago. Ever since then, we have seen Canon’s cinema line cameras like the Canon C300 mark II popping up at very high prices, making many entry level enthusiasts switch to Sony. Comparison: Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D C From the outside these two cameras look very much alike, and basically all buttons are in the same position. You might wonder: why does the 1D C (“C” as in Cinema Line) have the same layout as the 1D X (a stills camera). But this article is about the X, a photo camera that might, yet again, take the place of a video camera. On its own, we know by now that the Canon 1D X mark II produces some very nice 4K video. But how good is it really? With the 1D C as a benchmark, let’s put it to the test. We will also throw the popular Sony a7S II into the mix as a second reference. Dynamic Range This is an attribute that is often overlooked, and that is difficult to measure properly. A good dynamic range rating allows us to capture more shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes. We’re testing with a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive test chart and the Zeiss 50mm Cp2 macro (more on how we test HERE). Our software measured about 11 stops of usable dynamic range on the Canon 1D X mark II. This is very similar to the rating of the Canon 1D C, and just under the 12 stops of the Sony a7S II. You can observe the two Canon shots side by side in the image below. Dynamic Range of Canon 1D X mark II vs Canon 1D C 11 stops is a good rating for a camera. Most professional cinema cameras nowadays get between 10-13 stops in our tests. For example, the Canon C300 mark II is a camera that, in addition to us pointing out the horizontal strip that appears on overexposed portions of images, we rated at about 12 stops of usable dynamic range. This is about 2 stops weaker than the Arri ALEXA, which we rated at about 14 stops, as does the manufacturer. Lowlight Directly related to dynamic range is lowlight performance. The Canon 1D C performs quite well in that regard, and we could see that the Canon 1D X mark II did not keep up at the same ISO speeds. However, if you look at the image above, you will see that in order to film the test chart the Canon 1D C had to be set to F/5.6, while the 1D X mark II needed F/11.0. In other words, the ISO rating is in favour of the 1D X mark II. Everything taken into consideration I would say the lowlight performance is quite similar. The Canon 1D X mark II should be used with caution beyond ISO 6400 and produces a bit more colour noise than the 1D C. Image is 1 stop underexposed, to see the difference The image above is about 1 stop underexposed. Notice how the different ISOs give us more or less the same results. This might also be due to the picture profile I used. I used C log on the Canon 1D C, which Canon decided to leave out of the 1D X mark II. In order to get a good flat image for better colour grading, I installed the Technicolor Cinestyle on the 1DX. Lowlight performance is very similar, but the 1D C seems to have a slight edge over the 1D X. In comparison, the Sony a7S II has better lowlight performance. Image Quality Here is a blown-up shot of a tube test chart, in which the fine lines get closer and closer together to show when aliasing kicks in. In other words, it serves to analyse the point where sensors can no longer resolve detail correctly on the vertical and horizontal axis. What we see is that the Canon 1DX mark II resolves similar fine detail as the Canon 1D C, possibly slightly better and is also very close to the Sony aS7 II. In terms of compression, the Canon cameras are much better than the Sony. The Sony a6300 would be more in line with Canon in terms of compression artefacts. Unfortunately, the HD mode of the Canon 1D X mark II is really disappointing. Aliasing is strong and the image is very soft. It can hardly be considered an HD image and is barely suitable for an old tube television. The Canon 1D C, on the other hand had a S35 crop mode that delivered a very nice HD image. There is not much more to be said: the image of the 1D X and 1D C look very much alike. But with a proper Cfast card, the Canon 1D X mark II supports up to 60p 4K video, which probably makes it the only usable DSLR capable of 4K video in 50p or 60p. Other cameras that support higher frame rates are the Sony FS7 or Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K. The 60p video of the 1D X has no quality loss over normal frame rates. Rolling Shutter The Canon 1D C suffered from a very severe rolling shutter effect (A phenomenon also referred to as “jello”). Fortunately, the Canon 1D X mark II performs better here. Twice as good, in fact, making the 1D X mark II’s 14ms of rolling shutter performance one of the best among 4K DSLRs, alongside the Panasonic GH4. Canon 1D X Mark II vs. Canon 1D C: Conclusion If you thought that the Canon 1D X mark II was Canon’s next big failure in terms of video, then you would be wrong. With a beautiful image, good quality codec, good lowlight performance and good rolling shutter performance, as well as 50p and 60p video modes in 4K and good autofocus, the 1D X mark II is surely a camera to consider for the video and film enthusiast. However, if you thought the Canon 1D X mark II was the next step in video evolution after the Canon 1D C, then you’d be disappointed. It looks as though the video features of the 1D C have been carried over to the 1D X mark II, the valuable log gamma was left behind and HD mode is now useless (Why, Canon, why???). At the end of the day there is little difference between the two cameras. In summary, the Canon 1D X mark II is a good video shooting camera and considering its current price tag of $6000, it is certainly more affordable than the 1D C priced at $8000. So if you want 60p video at 4K, or good rolling shutter performance with overall great image quality in an APS-C sensor (crop of the camera’s full-frame sensor), then this camera might be worth the money. Photographers who are also into video will certainly appreciate the Canon 1D X mark II. However if you just want a great 4K camera, then those $6000 might be better spent elsewhere. Maybe on a more ergonomic, video oriented camera that also offers HD, or even the Sony a6300 (review here), which can get you to 4K wonderland for under $1000. For more on the 1DX check out: Johnnie’s hands-on Canon 1DX 2 reviewRead more
Canon has announced a new firmware update for the 1D-C. Here’s the press from Canon Rumors: A new firmware update is available for the EOS-1D C. Firmware Version 1.3.x adds new functionality incorporating the following features and modifications: Lens aberration correction with EF Cinema Lenses: Communication between Canon EF Cinema lenses and Canon cameras has had a few effects on the operation of the EOS-1D C. The following features are now available as menu options: Peripheral Illumination Correction: This feature maintains even brightness from corner to corner of an image. This will virtually eliminate vignetting and any other unevenness of light across the image. Chromatic Aberration Correction: This feature reduces color fringing in areas of an image with high contrast color. It reduces color bleeding, which is easily noticeable at edges and degrades perceived image quality. In addition, communication between the lens and camera body will allow the F-stop to now be seen on the viewfinder. Focus position and F-stop will also now be recorded by the camera. Flicker caused by manual aperture adjustment has been reduced with this update, this could cause slight underexposure which may result in exposure compensation in some cases. Sound recording with Line input:After requests from users in the field, audio recording through a mini plug (3.5mm) connected to the external microphone terminal is now supported. This will allow for the recording of audio sources other than microphones, such as mobile devices or audio players. The standard input level is -8 dBV and can reach an input signal of up to +6 dBV. Sound recording levels are adjustable at 64 sound-recording levels. Service support start date is anticipated mid-October 2013. For information regarding the EOS-1D C firmware update (which must be performed by a Canon Factory Service center) please contact Canon Cinema EOS Support at 1-855-CINE-EOS (246-3367) or your local dealer. As with the previous firmware update, this is a service centre only update, meaning you have to send your camera body to Canon (or authorized centre) for the upgrade. I like the above phrase “After requests from users in the field” – Was this feature really top priority from feedback from users? What about focus assist? (peaking, magnification whilst recording etc..) Seems like a case of selective hearing. What would you like to see from a firmware upgrade for the 1D-C, or any other of Canon’s EOS Cinema line? via/ CanonRumorsRead more
When asked to produce/shoot and edit the promotional video for the 14th international Beethoven competition which will take place during June 2013 in Vienna Austria, it was clear for me that I will deploy my Canon 1DC for it and shoot a 4k master. The process of pre-selecting candidates for this competition is a worldwide effort. Distinguish judges in different cities had to listen to hours of music played by different candidates. Since I am located in Vienna that’s where I joined them. Two filming days, that’s what I got and due to “movements restrictions” while the candidates were playing, I was literally “stuck” in one position during each composition and could only silently change lenses to achieve a shot.Read more
Recently, Canon announced the availability of the long-awaited 25p 4K firmware for its filmmaking-focused DSLR, the Canon 1DC (watch my Canon 1DC review video here and our comparison to the Sony F55 here). So far, the camera was only able to record 24p in 4K, basically making it irrelevant for any TV production in Europe and other PAL countries around the world (which rely on 25p/50i workflows and broadcasting). This makes the camera a whole lot more interesting to filmmakers and production companies in said countries. However, if you think you can download the firmware update and install it yourself, you are mistaken: Canon requires you to hand your 1DC over to a Canon-certified service center to perform the upgrade.Read more
cinema5D had a chance to test the new Sony F55, Sony’s new flagship 4K cinema camera. As a reference we used Canon’s most advanced HDSLR. The F55 is an interesting camera, because it is one that ticks more boxes than any other camera over the past few years – the range of resolutions, frame rates, codecs as well as the ergonomics are unprecedented. Now it’s down to actually using it to make a judgement call. We wanted to know how the camera performs in a normal sooting environment and took the Canon EOS 1DC 4K HDSLR with us for comparison. Some interesting conclusions can be drawn here, things you might consider if you plan on shooting with either of these cameras or would just like to see what to expect. You can download (1GB) and watch the source video in 4K on vimeo: LINKRead more
Click the link above the view “The Ticket” in 720p. I’ve been holding off on this one as I was really waiting for a 4K screenshot from this short shot on the Canon EOS-1D C by Shane Hurlbut. We saw this movie at the Canon Event last week. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Canon doesn’t seem to post any high resolution screenshot at this time. The best we’ve seen is this 1024×432 screenshot (as seen below).Read more
NAB 2012 is about to start. And it will be kicked off with a bang. Canon has been quite busy recently throwing a lot of new cameras at us. The 1DX, the 5D mark III and just recently the new EOS-1D C and EOS C500 cameras that introduced Canons move into the 4K cinema world. This Sunday at 5pm they will “present the next chapter in the Canon story”. As always cinema5D comments are filled with high expectations and Canon just can’t seem to make most of us happy. As far as I’m concerned they could show a 5D mark III film at that screening and I’d be happy, because I think the tools to make great movies are here, now, but they will probably blow us away with first hand EOS-1D C and C500 footage and make us want to buy them. Maybe they’ll even let us touch the camera’s dummy shell. cinema5D is invited to the screening and will definitely let you know what’s going on. Following the screening NAB 2012 starts on Monday April 16th and as we did previously at NAB 2011 and IBC 2011 we’ll walk the huge NAB show floor and talk to all the people and companies who present their newest gear. We can tell NAB 2012 will be very exciting so make sure to stop by now and then. This is the most exciting tech time of the year and HDSLR will surely dominate NAB again. You can see all our previous event coverage videos in our vimeo channels: NAB 2011 IBC 2011 PS: I’ll try to get twitter working for that screening, but I’ve got limited time, coming from the airport. Follow me here: @c5dnewsRead more
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